This easy sweet potato casserole with pecans is one of our favorite side dishes. Instead of marshmallows, it’s topped with a pecan crumb mixture to give it a nutty crunch. It’s a healthy alternative to the marshmallow laden version.
Originally published in June 2021; this post has been updated.
This dish is by no means low carb or keto, but using a pecan crumb topping instead of marshmallows (sacrilege for some, I’m sure!) makes it a somewhat more healthy sweet potato casserole.
Easy Sweet Potato Casserole with Pecans
A sweet potato casserole is the highlight of holiday meals for some. Personally, I don’t limit myself to eating it only during the holidays! It’s easy to pull together, and my family loves it.
Feel free to reduce the amount of sugar in this recipe if you prefer a less sweet casserole. You can omit the sugar entirely in the sweet potato mixture, and reduce it by half in the pecan crumb topping for a healthier dish.
Sweet potatoes: There are many different varieties of sweet potato, with flesh varying in color from deep orange to pale yellow and even purple. Use what’s readily available to you. (Note that sweet potatoes and yams are not the same vegetable!)
Sweetener: The recipe calls for readily available granulated sugar. If you’d prefer, you can use honey in the sweet potato mixture. The topping calls for brown sugar for that rich molasses-y flavor.
Eggs: The addition of eggs helps to bind the recipe (and adds a bit of protein!).
Dairy: Giving its characteristic richness, use salted or unsalted butter, as you like. Adding cream to the sweet potatoes provides even more creaminess.
Nuts and Spices: The pecans in the topping give this sweet potato casserole a toasted crunch. The cinnamon and nutmeg enhance the flavor of the sweet potatoes.
If you love sweet potatoes, try this easy sweet potato curry, too!
Making the Casserole
Start by peeling and boiling the sweet potatoes until they’re soft enough to mash with a fork. Once cooked, drain the sweet potatoes and put them back in the cooking pot. (No sense making more dishes to wash!)
Add the remaining ingredients for the bottom layer and beat until smooth. You can use a hand mixer for this, or a wooden spoon. Spread the sweet potato mixture in the casserole dish.
Combine the topping ingredients and spread over the sweet potatoes. Simple! For an extra pop of flavor, consider toasting the pecans before adding them to the topping mix.
Serve this up as part of a holiday meal with this vegetarian stuffing!
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- 3 pounds sweet potatoes
- ½ cups granulated organic cane sugar
- 1/3 cup butter, melted
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/3 cup heavy cream
- 3/4 cup organic brown sugar
- 5 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2/3 cup unbleached organic all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ cups pecans, chopped
- Peel sweet potatoes and cut into chunks. Put sweet potatoes in a large saucepan and cover with water. Boil until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Mash with a fork, and add remaining ingredients for the potato layer. (Not the topping ingredients.) Beat until a smooth consistency is reached.
- Grease a large 9×13 pan or a couple of smaller casserole dishes.
- Pour sweet potato mixture into pan.
- Mix topping ingredients until thoroughly combined, and then spread on top of the cooked sweet potatoes. Bake for 25 to 28 minutes.
This easy sweet potato casserole with pecans makes about 8 small side dish servings.